I’m surprised I haven’t run across this site before. Jason and Terry’s Bay Area Review (aka JATBAR) is a site with a bunch of reviews for Bay Area restaurants. And, OMG, they don’t just focus on San Francisco and Berkeley/Oakland! There are a bunch of places reviewed that are in my neck of the woods (ie. Burlingame to Cupertino). That makes me happy.
The original comments to this post:
Thanks for alerting us to this site. I think I’ll be looking into Thai restaurants with a score of 8 or more.
Tue Nov 29 07:04:17 2005
Hmm. 8 or more doesn’t seem to mean that much on this site. I can’t say I like the way the reviews are written either. They give the mediocre House of Chicken and Waffles 8 even with “stack of two soggie [sic] waffles” and “small pieces chicken/expensive at fourteen bucks.” Also Fenton’s gets 9.17 specifically for the ice cream desserts, and while I love the concept of eating far too much ice cream in 20 minutes or less (http://kuponut.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_kuponut_archive.html and scroll down halfway), Zack and I weren’t all that impressed with the actual ice cream.
Also, it really doesn’t seem fair to rate a whole bakery when you’ve tried just two items, one of which you spit out after one bite:
Sheng Kee is my Chinese bakery chain of choice, by the way.
Sarah’s mom, if you happen to be in Berkeley, there are at least 3 great Thai restaurants (not reviewed on jatbar). Racha Cafe on Telegraph has my favorite chicken pad see ew. Cha-Am on Shattuck in the gourmet ghetto has fantastic mango sticky rice and good curries. Hua-Hin near campus has a delicious yellow curry, this amazing crab/prawn/scallop platter when crab is in season (NOW, yay!), and apparently, very good steak.
Tue Nov 29 10:12:37 2005
Sarah the Hussy
Yeah, the rating seem to be skewed towards the top- why isn’t anyplace rated under a 7? It annoys me when places say they review restaurants in the Bay Area and then everything’s in SF or Berkeley (with maybe one place in San Jose). I am not driving an hour to get food. So a place that has a lot of reviews on the peninsula makes me happy.
Tue Nov 29 10:42:50 2005
Any resturant called “House of Chicken and Waffles” has to be good. It’s a marriage of foods lesser people would be afraid to try, but I can think of no better combination.
Tue Nov 29 10:46:36 2005
the best part about House of Chicken and Waffles is that it is (vaguely, or at least formerly) associated with Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles.
Tue Nov 29 11:16:23 2005
Look, I want good chicken and waffles as much as the next girl, but don’t promise me good chicken and waffles and give me mediocre food at high prices!
Tue Nov 29 11:43:00 2005
The fried chicken livers were my biggest disappointment there, by the way. Liver + fried SHOULD = good. Bah.
Tue Nov 29 11:44:34 2005
im a user registered for jatbar and get to talk to jason and terry quite a bit. I can answer your questions.
lydia – if you didnt like the review for house of chicken and waffles, its “haiku” format, jason supposedly got bored writing 500+ reviews so he wanted to try something new. neither terry or jason claim to be professional reviewers, they are just normal people.
as for scores lower than 7’s, majority of the restaurants are recommended by users of the site. these are places that are favorites, hence the higher scores.
i may sound like im protecting jatbar and i am, they provide a free service with pictures. I cannot think of any other review site that does this.
if anything, shoot them an email about your complaints, they love to hear this kind of stuff.
Tue Nov 29 23:51:15 2005
I didn’t actually have any questions about Jatbar. By “way the reviews are written,” I didn’t mean haiku format for that specific review, but rather the language and style of writing overall. Yes, it’s great that they provide a free service, but I’ve actually been to the eateries mentioned above, and I don’t agree with the scoring. That’s just my opinion, which I was sharing with friends on this blog. If I have any actual complaints about Jatbar, I’ll make sure to direct them to the webmasters, who I’m sure are very nice people, even if we have differing opinions on food. 😉
Wed Nov 30 11:25:08 2005
Sarah the Hussy
Well, we could always put our money where our mouths are and become members ourselves.
(so lazy, though.)
Wed Nov 30 12:13:50 2005
Sarah the Hussy
I went back to the site and listed the restaurants by rating. The lowest reviewed is a 5. You might want to keep that in mind while reading the reviews.
I mean, if you say, “I have serious cleanliness and sanitary issues with Korean Palace,” you should rate it lower than a 5.
Fri Dec 2 10:59:04 2005
Sarah, they have a weird rating scale. They only rate restaurants from 5 – 10 with 5 being the absolute worst. Here’s the definition of a 5
“You would never come back, you would never recommend this place ever. You might even experienced food poisoning or some form of sickness. It could also mean this place is filthy, unsanitary, or have bugs in their food.”
Fri Dec 2 19:38:40 2005
Sarah the Hussy
Ohhh, I see. Guess I must have missed it in the FAQ. (Still kind of a weird rating system, but now I know.) Thanks for the enlightenment! It’ll help my reading of the reviews. (:
Fri Dec 2 20:47:40 2005
That feel good rating system is ridiculous. It is unprofessional. It is why people make fun of Starbucks’ “tall” size, and I can’t respect jatbar knowing that 5 is the lowest score they give. Why wouldn’t they just run the scale from 0 to 5 instead of 5 to 10? Their system isn’t “weird;” it’s “deceptive.” I guess these guys learned by reading game reviews on IGN, huh?
I can appreciate the “regular guy” angle, but they seem like they have relatively untrained palates. If you don’t like green bean paste, you don’t belong in an Asian bakery. You certainly shouldn’t try to review it … because you will say something exactly as meaningless as Jason and Terry both did: “it’s an acquired taste.” Well, was it good for a green bean pastry? If they can’t say, then the review is totally, utterly useless. Why not just write, “My name is Jason and this is my reiew about green bean pastries. The end?”
Sat Dec 3 01:28:45 2005
Hello everyone, its Jason from “j”atbar. Kris told me about discussion on the site and hope I could answer a few questions.
Rating system – when we 1st started reviewing restaurants, we started with the 1-10 scale. We noticed that 99.9% of the places were in the 5 – 10 range so Terry and I threw the 1- 4 range out. We would have done the 1-5 range but everyone and their mother does that so we stuck with 5 – 10. Or we can use Terrys story, we were too lazy to change all the scores in the database to a regular rating system.
Zack, Im feeling no love from you? Our rating system is unprofessional? Quite possible since we arent professionals, we are FAR from it 🙂 Untrained palates, maybe? Does that mean I cant enjoy food and write about it, nope.
“If you don’t like green bean paste, you don’t belong in an Asian bakery. You certainly shouldn’t try to review it”
Here’s your chance to help your restaurant out. Its obvious you didnt like what I wrote so can do them a favor a write a review for them. Give us the insight on what to look for so we enjoy our visit next time. Try to write it in the experience of having green bean pastry for the 1st time. There are a lot of readers who havent had it before so you’ll want to be descriptive.
What does green bean taste like?
How will I know its fresh?
How does this green bean differ from other asian bakerys?
You will have to rate it. Here’s a quick description on our “unprofessional” ratings.
5 – the worst
6 – no return visit
7 – return visit
8 – great, once a month visit
9 – excellent, you are dying to drive people here
10 – the best, it doesnt get any better for you
The only thing I can ask is, the review can only be written if you have NO relationship ties to the bakery/restaurant.
Sat Dec 3 17:21:13 2005